Ideas and Fears of Copying


It really is amazing how some weeks I'll end up just banging my head into a wall trying to knock out any semblance of a video idea, driving myself into a worry over whether or not the topic I do end up with is actually a good topic or one I took because I was desperate.

Then, other weeks I'll just have a flood of video ideas.

Luckily tonight is a the second of the two, and it came at a perfect time. I have ideas noted down for the next three videos, and it just so happens that I needed to get a head start on the next three videos because I have a hectic couple of weeks ahead of me that involves weekends in PA and NJ with family.

It really highlights for me the importance of relaxed browsing. Putting off bed for yet another night, I just spent an hour or so browsing old newspaper articles to see what people were writing about back in the day. I'd pick completely random keywords and date ranges.

Ten minutes of browsing articles about MGM Studios in 1995 through 1998 and then ten minutes of browsing water park articles for 1990. The funny part is, none of the video ideas were instances were I stumbled across a specific story that I wanted to turn into a video. Instead I just read articles that made small mentions or references to things. From there I would go "Huh, I wonder what the story behind that is." which would grow into a full video idea.

One of the ideas spawned a spin-off idea for an entire series. It's centered around a direction I've been trying to lean into for a while now. Without spoiling it, I'm planning to do a video on the history of the inspiration of a Disney World hotel. So in other words, it's not the history of the Disney hotel itself, it's a history of the thing that inspired the hotel.

I've found that level of depth within Disney History to be completely fascinating. We so often just take what the Imagineers put out there at face value, but they're so dedicated to their craft that usually for every ride, hotel, or even sign, there's a rich history that inspired it. So I thought, why not a whole series like this? "The History Behind the History" It would allow me to experiment with history videos that aren't about Disney, but still have that connective tissue to Disney World.

Only one problem: it sounds like a complete video rip-off of the Historical Tour of Walt Disney World book series. So, what do I do?

I've never worried too much when it came to the topic of copying on YouTube. To this day, I intentionally avoid watching a lot of Disney YouTube videos specifically so I can't even subconsciously rip off other YouTuber's ideas. When it comes to other Disney history channels, I'll only watch videos by them on topics that I've already covered. Without the exposure, taking ideas is just not on the table at all.

On the flip side of that I've never cared much about the idea of someone potentially copying me. I'm a big believer that the only real way to combat that (beyond obviously copyright-able content) is to just be better than the person ripping you off. I don't mean morally by turning the other cheek. I just mean by making better content. Besides, I focus on the history of the parks. While I write my own words and the videos are made by me, the history is not mine. I wasn't there and I wasn't making the decisions that shaped the company. So I don't feel like I'd have an argument to stand on by acting as if doing something like discussing the history of Epcot is my idea. 

But this is a different situation. It's not a matter of me covering a topic that a book has covered. It's a video series idea that is very similar to a specific novel concept within Disney fandom. So I feel like the idea of making a formal series out of the concept is automatically a no-go.

Now that said, I still plan to do this video. Those books focus on the parks themselves, and cover the history behind the history for a number of rides and park areas. This hotel was never covered, and so I feel like it's fair enough for me to cover it. It's just something I need to be mindful of. While I know that I organically thought up this idea, I can easily see how someone might see a series like this, see the books, and come to the conclusion that I ripped off the idea.

I don't know know if there's a lesson here or a takeaway. It's just one of those aspects of being in this ecosystem that I need to keep in mind. Anyway, time for bed because tomorrow I have three scripts to get started on.